Cherries are one of the many fruits that come in a wide range of choices. There are black cherries, bing cherries, Rainier cherries, Montmorency cherries, Amarena cherries, and more. Such a wide range of fruits also makes for a large variety of delicious cherry-flavored treats.
Maybe you or someone in your family is a huge cherry fan, and since you have cherries around the house, you were wondering if they would make a good treat for your dog. After all, cherries have plenty of health benefits for us, so maybe they’ll have the same benefits for your fur baby.
Before you feed your dog cherries, you need to do some research. After all, there are just as many foods that can harm your dog as can help your dog. We’re here to help. At Spot Pet Insurance, we’re committed to helping good pet parents become better and helping pets live long and happy lives.
Part of helping our pets live long lives is to make sure that they’re healthy, and that requires a well-balanced diet. Although dog foods usually have many of the nutrients your dog needs, fruits and vegetables can be a nice treat with dinner one day, or they can be used as treats for training.
Cherries might seem like an excellent option. They’re small and delicious and have plenty of vitamins and minerals, but can dogs eat cherries? Technically, they can, but that doesn’t mean you should serve them to your pup. Why? Let’s find out.
Should dogs eat cherries?
Cherries are delicious fruits with a lot of health benefits, but they also present some dangers to our pups. Although the flesh is safe for dogs to eat, the pit, the stems, and the leaves contain a toxin called cyanide.
It is possible to feed your pup cherries, and they can benefit from them, but there are many other fruits for your dog to try that don’t present any risks. Fruit like blueberries, pineapple, cantaloupe, or bananas can have the same benefits but less risk.
Plus, it’s important to remember that treats, like fruit, should only take up 10% of your dog’s calorie intake per day, so it would be much simpler if that 10% were made up of foods that don’t present any risk to your pup.
Before making any changes to your pup’s diet, your best course of action is to consult a licensed vet. They can advise you on how to make sure that your dog’s diet is the best for them, how to keep it well-balanced, and what you should avoid doing.
What health benefits do they have?
Before we talk about the problems that cherries present, we want to talk about some of the good things so that you can make a well-informed decision.
Cherries have things that can benefit dogs, like:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Fiber is good for aiding digestion, although too much of it can cause problems like vomiting and diarrhea, so it’s important to be careful about how much fiber your dog eats. Antioxidants can help protect your dog’s cells from damage.
These vitamins and minerals can also help reduce inflammation, strengthen the immune system, and even fight off cancer.
What are the dangers of giving my dogs cherries?
Even though cherries have a lot of health benefits, they can also cause some issues. The leaves, pits, and stems have cyanide, which is a deadly poison. A small amount of cyanide won’t hurt your dog, but in large enough quantities, it can be dangerous.
The size of your dog can affect how much cyanide is dangerous. Small dogs can be affected with smaller doses than large dogs, so you should be aware of that.
Although the pits don’t have enough cyanide to severely harm your dog if only one is consumed, they also present a choking hazard. They can get stuck and cause intestinal blockages as well.
There are some other concerns with cherries as well. Some dogs can be more sensitive to fruits than others, so you’ll want to keep an eye out for allergic reactions, like hives, rashes, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you notice any of these reactions, you may want to have your vet test your dog for allergies.
Can I prepare cherries in a way that’s okay for my dog to eat?
If you are going to try giving cherries to your dog, you’ll need to very carefully remove the pits and the stems, as well as any leaves you might find. You should make sure that your dog can’t get into the pits and stems you remove, so it’s best to throw them away as soon as possible.
It might also be helpful if you cut them in half. Although cherries are small to begin with, if your dog is on the smaller side, they might find smaller pieces easier to manage.
It’s also a good idea to keep your cherries in a place that your pup can’t get into, especially if you have a nosy pup who likes eating things they shouldn’t.
Can my dog eat processed cherries?
If you like your sundaes or milkshakes with a cherry on top, you’ll know that they already have the seeds taken out. Maraschino cherries are processed, so people have removed the pits, and sometimes you can find them without stems too.
This may seem like a safer alternative than normal cherries, but maraschino cherries aren’t good for your dog either. They have too much sugar for your pup to digest properly.
Cherry is also a popular food flavoring. There are cherry popsicles, cherry Italian ices, and cherry ice cream. Unfortunately, cherry-flavored foods aren’t a good option either.
Most cherry flavorings also have extra sugar, and they also have artificial flavorings that can be harmful to dogs. That means no cherry pie for your dog.
What should I do if my dog eats cherries?
No one is perfect, and sometimes after a rough day, we can accidentally let our guards down. Maybe cherries are your go-to comfort fruit or favorite daytime snack. What should you do if your dog accidentally eats one?
One cherry probably won’t hurt your dog since it has such a small amount of cyanide. However, you will still need to keep an eye on your dog for potential intestinal blockages or choking. It might also be a good idea to call your dog’s vet to make sure they are aware of the situation.
A blockage will produce symptoms like:
- Decreased fecal matter
- Smaller appetite
If your dog manages to get hold of more than one cherry, you should keep an eye out for symptoms of cyanide poisoning. Cyanide poisoning shows itself through dilated pupils, difficulty breathing, and red gums.
You should also call a vet, even if the cherries had been pitted before your furry friend got into them. A licensed vet can help you determine whether it is a good idea to induce vomiting as a preventative measure.
At Spot Pet Insurance, we provide personalized plans that can cover emergency visits for your pet’s accidents and illnesses at to any licensed vet in the United States or Canada. Members also Policyholders of a pet insurance plan provided by Spot also have access to a 24/7 pet telehealth service provided by VetConnect™,powered by whiskerDocs, so if you’re not sure of what to do, they can help you identify symptoms.
If your dog only eats one cherry, it’s probably not a cause for concern; just keep an eye on them. However, if they eat a lot of cherries, an emergency vet visit is probably a good idea.
Keeping your pup healthy and happy
Our dogs deserve the best of the best, and there are many foods that we might want to share with our four-legged friends. Unfortunately, not all foods are safe for our dogs to eat, and cherries are one of them.
Although the flesh is safe for dogs to eat, the stem, the leaves, and the seeds of cherries are poisonous, and the pit can cause intestinal blockages or choking. You can prepare cherries for your dog by removing these three things, which can prevent potential problems.
Cherries do have some health benefits, but there are plenty of other fruits, like bananas or pineapple, that have similar benefits for dogs. These foods don’t have any toxic elements, although they do need to be prepared properly before your dog can eat them.
There are many cherry-flavored foods and desserts for us to enjoy, but we shouldn’t share these with our dogs either. They usually have a lot of extra sugar, which our pups have a harder time digesting than we do.
If you’re thinking about using fruits for treats, there are many options to choose from. You could use cherries if you prepare them properly, but there are other, safer options out there.
Ultimately, cherries can be a great snack for humans, but it may be better to keep them away from your dog.